The American Soybean Association (ASA) applauds the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) announcement on the voluntary biobased product labeling program.

The purpose of the labeling initiative is to more clearly identify biobased products for all buyers, and to promote the increased sale and use of biobased products in the commercial market and for consumers.

“This new label will help consumers identify biobased products made from renewable resources, and will promote the increased sale and use of these products, including many soy-based products, in the commercial market,” said ASA President Alan Kemper, a soybean farmer from Lafayette, Ind. “It is in the best interest of both consumers and soybean farmers that USDA continue to promote the use of biobased products through the labeling program and expansion of the BioPreferred procurement program.”

ASA worked with Congress and other farm organizations to create the federal biobased products preferred procurement program (BioPreferred program) as part of the 2002 farm bill. ASA then worked to update and expand the biobased program in the 2008 farm bill, including the requirement that USDA establish the voluntary labeling program.

The implementation of the USDA biobased product labeling program, along with the existing BioPreferred program creates a two pronged, low cost, high return market development effort that supports the expansion of agricultural markets, creates green jobs and contributes to the national goal of reducing dependence on petroleum.

Expanding markets for soybeans and soy products is a priority for ASA. To further this goal and support and expand federal programs that promote the use of biobased products, ASA and other farm trade associations and allied industry formed the Biobased Products Coalition (BPC) in 2007.